Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  Home > Exhibitions > Exhibition Halls > Blue Whale Skeleton >
Blue Whale Skeleton

-History of the Blue Whale
Initial Stranding
-History of the Blue Whale
Cleaning the Skeleton
- Blue Whale Restoration Project

  History of the Blue Whale
Cleaning the Skeleton
share page:

Following the recovery of the skeleton, the next 18 months were spent cleaning the bones. This cleaning process involved soaking bones in water filled fiberglass tanks to decay the remaining tissue. Every few weeks each bone was steam cleaned to remove tissue and oil. Some of the larger bones required 8-10 cycles of soaking and steaming before the bones were cleaned. This process was coordinated by Dr. Chuck Woodhouse. 

Vertebrate Zoology Curator Chuck Woodhouse contemplates the enormous task of cleaning an entire Blue Whale skeleton. 

A pipe gantry was built to move the massive bones into and out of their maceration tanks and on to a concrete pad for steam cleaning.  This same gantry is being used to move the bones of the new Blue Whale skull (SBMNH 2007-19) for cleaning.

Moving the cranium and mandibles onto a trailer for transport to the lab for repair and reassembly.


Jim Greaves steam cleaning the massive lower mandibles (jaws).

Chuck Woodhouse steam cleaning one of the ribs.

Steam cleaning helped to remove remaining tissue. 




Exhibitions | Sea Center | Gladwin Planetarium | Education | Collections & Research
Members | Support SBMNH | About Us | Site Map
Your privacy is important - privacy policy © 2018 Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History